The Wise Man And The Tiny House

There’s an old song comparing the wise man and the foolish man.  It might just be talking about a tiny house foundation!  Goes something like this: ‘the Foolish man built his house upon the sand … and the house came tumbling down. … The Wise man built his house upon a rock … and the house on the rock stood still.‘  –  Or something like that.  (If you know the words and the tune, ya gotta sing it!)

20ft Tiny House TrailerIt’s an interesting metaphor that takes on a slightly different meaning when thinking about the foundation (trailer) for a Tiny House.

Yet, that’s what it is.  You build a house on a foundation — and Tiny Houses are no different.  The tiny house foundation IS the trailer, so it’s got to stand up to the environment — which includes rolling down the highway (over potholes, and other road debris).

Engineering Tiny House Trailers

At Synthesis, I get calls fairly frequently from people asking about trailers for a tiny house.  The questions vary, of course, but the essence is often about “what can I get away with for a trailer?”  Not so unlike sand, an insufficient trailer will not make a solid foundation or stable platform to build your house on.  Tiny houses definitely need a Specialty Trailer.  And, we can learn a lot from the Old Time Tiny Houses with their unique mobile platform.

My Questions In Response To The Inquiries Are:  How long do you want it to last?  And,  How much trouble do you want to deal with?  The answers to these 2 questions (never asked directly) drive the design.

The Tiny House Trailer has to deal with a lot of different things that other trailers don’t, so the design must consider these conditions.  You can read about the engineering and design process specifically for these Tiny House Trailers.  That’s the way we make decisions, and how we research things before diving in.  You can read a similar discussion about the process in designing our Deck-Over style trailers.

That leaves only the matters of trailer size (to accommodate what kind of house), and what capacity (how much will the house weigh).  Weight we’ll discuss below, but size, that can be a Tiny House Quandary so we’ll leave that to you.  Here’s some additional reading on Wide foundation trailers.

Tiny House Weight / Trailer Load Capacity

This is a tough one to grapple with.  How much does a tiny house weigh?  So many variables, and so much to consider.  Does it have freshwater or black storage tanks?  How many and what size of batteries?  Appliances?

Compact is the reality and very nature of the tiny house, which means tighter and denser than a typical house.  Also, being roadworthy requires an extra level of sturdiness.  How much does that all weigh?  Truly, it varies, and every house plan I’ve seen is unique, so you’ll need to do the math.  However, from what we’ve seen, something in the neighborhood of 500# per linear foot is not out of the question.  Some are more, some less — so don’t use this number and think you’re OK.  Go back to the wise man song.  The wise man also considers just how much rock he needs for the house to stand.

Take the weight information and it will point you to the right tiny house foundation.  You’ll need one that exceeds whatever you calculate as the need.  We recommend exceeding it by quite a bit since things always change and it’s so much better to over-design a bit than to wish you had.

Side note, all the information, and the available Tiny House Trailer Plans are in Imperial dimensions.  Read more about Metric here.

The New “Rock” To Build On

So, on that note, let’s introduce the new “Rock” and it’s big brother.  Then there’s the long one with a build choice of 30′ or 32′ deck length.  Our latest DIY project is an amazing Tiny House Foundation — a trailer designed specifically for Tiny Houses.  It’s designed to be really strong, easy to build, and to last (as the song says) … the Tiny House on the rock stands still.

Tiny House w/ Floor Integrated Into The Trailer FrameThese particular trailers are 100″ width (allowing for siding overlap and still be legal).  DOT legal for anywhere at 8.5′.  And, they have 20′ or 24′ or 30′ or 32′ bed lengths.  Other features include a max capacity of 14,000 lbs tandems (up to 18,000 lbs for the triple), and low deck height with an integrated floor for even more headroom.  As I speak to Tiny House creators, deck height is usually very high on the priority list, but there are trade-off’s.  So, these new trailers not only have a low deck height, they have the house floor integrated with the frame for better support and to minimize the true floor height.

Most important to this discussion, this Tiny House trailer minimizes deflection in all conditions even with the low deck height.  See the discussion about deflection in our previous post.  These trailer frames are very strong, yet more important, they’re stiff.  So, if you build with care, it will make a very stable, very strong, Tiny House Foundation.

It’s Your Turn – The Tiny House Foundation

If the foundation is the most important thing to get “right”, one of these new “Rocks” are a great choice.  DIY plans are available for 3 versions our Tiny House Foundation (3 lengths).  Select the size you want here.  (Tiny House Foundation Trailers are down the page slightly.)  Then, right after payment confirmation, you can save the blueprints directly to your computer.  And, we take care of our customers, so let us know if you have trouble.

We invite you to have a look at the plans, then let us know what you think.

UPDATE – 2021

We now have the Wide and the Extra Wide tiny house mobile foundations for you.  The 10′ wide by 32′ length, then the really big (well, for a tiny house) the 12′ wide by 32′ length mobile foundation.  They’ll require permits on the road, but if you want a little more elbow room, have a look.

2 thoughts about “The Wise Man And The Tiny House”

  1. I’m a 61 year old single woman and I’ve been gearing up to build my own shed for quite some time now. I sell antiques and remodified product out of my home. ( which is overloaded while waiting for someone to buy) so I need storage, but would like it to look like a little shop where I can sell out of my front yard. I need to be able to move this shed to my side yard because I rent and do not have a garage.
    I will need to find a trailer base to build on since I won’t be able to weld. I make many things out of used items and had an idea of using old steal bed rails. But from what I read in your “building a trailer” link it probably won’t work and all that work I put into it will set me up for failure. So I decided to see if you had any ideas on what kind of base to look for so I can build on it. Can I find a used one? How do I tell if it is good?
    Thanks a bunch Marianne

    Reply
    • Thanks for writing. If I were you, I’d look for a used enclosed trailer so you don’t have to build anything, and it will be water tight right from the start. You can modify the back end door area to make it like a front porch store front. My 2-Bits. Good Luck.

      Reply

2 thoughts about “The Wise Man And The Tiny House”

  1. I’m a 61 year old single woman and I’ve been gearing up to build my own shed for quite some time now. I sell antiques and remodified product out of my home. ( which is overloaded while waiting for someone to buy) so I need storage, but would like it to look like a little shop where I can sell out of my front yard. I need to be able to move this shed to my side yard because I rent and do not have a garage.
    I will need to find a trailer base to build on since I won’t be able to weld. I make many things out of used items and had an idea of using old steal bed rails. But from what I read in your “building a trailer” link it probably won’t work and all that work I put into it will set me up for failure. So I decided to see if you had any ideas on what kind of base to look for so I can build on it. Can I find a used one? How do I tell if it is good?
    Thanks a bunch Marianne

    Reply
    • Thanks for writing. If I were you, I’d look for a used enclosed trailer so you don’t have to build anything, and it will be water tight right from the start. You can modify the back end door area to make it like a front porch store front. My 2-Bits. Good Luck.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

We Found These For You . . .

Article
Wire Routing and Covering for Trailer Tandem Axle Brakes
It all rides on the trailer axles, so get them right.  Here are some common technologies (and misnomers) for tandem axles and other multi-axle trailers.

Read The Article

Product
16K by 20' Flat Deck Trailer

A great mid-size Tandem Axle, 10,000 lbs Flat Deck Trailer is waiting for you in these plans.  At 8.5' wide x 20' deck length, the plans include many options to achieve the function needs.

Product
6x16 Utility Trailer Plans

Get your 6x16 Utility Trailer Plans here, then build your own 7000 lb. capacity tandem axle workhorse.  These plans include all the details and instructions.  Build it, and make it better than you can buy it.

Product
4' x 8' - 3500# Torsion Axle Trailer

Fully Engineered Blueprints are just the start with these Torsion Axle Utility Trailer Plans.  With the deck a little larger than tradition, you can put true 4' x 8' cargo inside!  Up to 3500 lbs.

Article
Engineered Trailer Plans Are Not Free Plans
It’s a big dilemma.  Why buy trailer plans (or crane plans or whatever) when you can get free plans?  Some websites have free plans, other places charge.  So what’s the big deal? 

Read The Article

Product
Canoe Trailer Plans

Specialty trailer for carrying up to12 full size canoes or kayaks.  Designed originally for a Boy Scout Canoe Base, so it includes easy on/off, and options for on-board life jacket and paddle storage.

Product
Just The Right Size Garage Crane

Get maximum height with a garage crane that still rolls through the door! Use it outdoors, then roll it right in. These Gantry Crane Plans have telescoping legs with options for the beam size and length.

Article
DIY Steel Cutting Options
So, you need to cut steel for a DIY project (like a crane or trailer).  Easy, Right?  What’s the best, easiest, cheapest, fastest way of cutting steel?  There must be dozens of ways, so, the better question might be

Read The Article

Product
5x8 Trailer Plans, 3500# Capacity

Start building your own utility trailer with these 5x8 Trailer Plans.  Blueprints are fully engineered and include options for various needs.  These plans are a perfect map for a great project.

Article
Review of the Folding Trailer Tongue
On a recent trailer, I experimented with a new folding tongue design.  Now it’s time to review — What do I like?  What would I do different if building another?

Read The Article

Article
Welding Pre-Stressed Steel Fabrication
The concepts of pre-stressed steel fabrication have been around for ages, but they are not often applied for simple welded structures like trailer frames or crane stands.

Read The Article

Article
Low & Lean Trailer Suspension
A unique trailer suspension offering a low profile, tuning possibilities, and more. By design, the concept offers complete tandem axle load sharing via a common coil spring which is a big plus. Though different than a torsion axle suspension, this…

Read The Article

Article
Do I Need A Trailer Spare Tire?
What about that trailer spare tire?  No, I don’t mean the one around my middle . . . for your trailer.  Do you really need one?  Some say yes, and we see them on many trailers, but they are rarely…

Read The Article

Article
May Is Build Month - DIY Plans Sale
May, the time of new flowers after April showers, is also the time for building that project you’ve been stewing on over the winter.  Spring has sprung, so it’s time to make it happen.

Read The Article

Article
Nuts and Bolts Project Fasteners
Ever wonder why fasteners like nuts and bolts are so expensive?  You would think something so standard and manufactured in such high volumes would be cheap, but in most places, they’re actually pretty expensive.  Why?

Read The Article

Product
Water Barrel Storage Center

Store water for emergencies in a system that’s easy to use, and more important, easy to replenish the water -- so it’s always fresh when you need it.  Uses plastic 55 gallon barrels for an easy build.

Article
Example aluminum trailers
This question comes up often — because there are not many good plans for aluminum trailers out there.  We have great trailer plans, but none for aluminum.  Why?  As one of our Frequently Asked Questions, this one deserves a good…

Read The Article

Product
6x11, 2 Place, ATV Trailer Plans

When you need full space for 2 large ATV’s, or other off-road vehicles, this is your trailer.  Plans give options for ramps, tie-downs, and other functions.  Build this for robust action to last through the years.

Article
Trailer Sway Video Review
Understanding Trailer Dynamics like Sway is a really important.  If you look for it, there are many articles and some great YouTube videos discussing and demonstrating the many factors and issues.

Read The Article

Article
Custom Changes To The Plans
I can’t find quite the right plans for the trailer I want to build.  Can I make changes to the plans at Mechanical Elements to fit my needs?

Read The Article

Leave a Comment